Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:00 pm

Here's some interior shots. Not much going on here - it's a pretty utilitarian inside since we have be able to sleep 5 of us. I'll take some time this winter to add some shelving and storage, but it'll be pretty minimal. A queen size mattress that also doubles as a couch will occupy most of the floor, and two cots will hang from the walls, one in front and one to the rear of the cabin doors.

The ceiling is still not done, but this picture shows the rear storage area that creates the rear bunk. It's just screwed in for now. Later it'll get skinned with birch and epoxied in permanently. The rear cot will go right in front of the rear bunk at the same level.
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Here's a shot from the rear bunk looking forward. Again, the ceiling is not finished, but you can see the slot in the front bulkhead that will allow the cool air from the air conditioner to enter the ceiling duct. The front cot will be at the same level as the rear cot & bunk in front of the cabin doors. The black grate on the bottom of the front bulkhead is the return air for the air conditioner.
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This is what it looks like in the dark with the lower interior lights on. The lights are the same landscape lights that I used on the outside for porch lighting and I couldn't be happier with them. Not too bright, not too dim.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:27 pm

Here's a couple shots from our maiden voyage. It was just a quick overnight shakedown trip into the national forest near our house. Everything worked great; no break downs or causalities. It was really cold that night (including a snowy morning hike), but we stayed pretty warm inside with no heat. We did have a little condensation on the part of the roof that is not yet insulated, but other than that everything was great. Plus it was a Thrusday, so no one was around!
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Here's a shot of the rear storage door open. I can't wait to plan and built some shelves back here. I'm considering making my own full-extension slide-out cooler to maximize space vs. a Yeti or something similar. I will be adding the lighting and power outlets this winter, but you can see two of those same landscape lights on the bottom of the open rear hatch. They'll be nice to keep the ground lit to avoid tripping on things and or hitting your head on the hatch.
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Here's a picture of the front cot. It was actually hung after the first trip, so we didn't get to use it, but my tester said it was very comfortable. It's a little hard to see in the picture, but it's made of two aluminum poles and canvas. The poles sit in wooden brackets that are screwed to the wall. The brackets are open on top, so the poles can just be lifted out and removed or stored. I mounted similar brackets underneath the forward pole that will be used to store the rear pole when it's not in use, giving us some much needed interior space. I'll try to get a picture of the brackets, the rear cot and how they look when stored.
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:beer:
Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby OP827 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:54 pm

Congratulations Steve on (substantial) build completion and the first camping trip! This build was a lot of work I am sure, but it looks great! Thanks for sharing your build here. Looking forward to hear of more trips and experience with this build. I am sure I'll have some questions about your panels building after I study all your posts. :thumbsup: :applause:
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:45 pm

Thank you, OP. It was a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of fun.

Here are some pictures of the rear cot.

Deployed...
Image

Stored...
Image

Hangers...
Image

Steve


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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:23 pm

Hey everyone! So it's been a while. 5 months? Sheesh!! Okay, so I pretty much took most of the cold months off, but the longer days has convinced me to get some work done - finally! So here's some pictures of the ceiling ducting and lighting...

For those that don't remember, I have an air conditioner in the tongue box. The cool air is (will be) ducted up the front bulkhead and into the ceiling. The roof has a slight pitch to it and the false ceiling is flat. Between the two is the duct that will distribute the cool air from the air conditioner - hopefully most of the way towards the rear of the cabin and not just the front. The duct is approximately the same cross section as the air conditioner's output vent, but the length of the duct, the 90° turn and the turbulence from the spars will likely hinder the air's ability to make it all the way to the back.

If you look all the way to the front, you can see the gap in the bulkhead where the cool air enters the cabin from the tongue box. The spars that go side-to-side are part of the roof structure. The 2 strips that run front-to-back provide the gap for the air to fall out as well as a place to mount the led strip lights and the ceiling.
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Hopefully this shot gives you a better picture of how the air will (hopefully) travel down the length of the ceiling and fall out the gap along the edges of the drop ceiling. I think the spars might interfere with the air a little too much, so I might have to find some way of smoothing them out, but we'll see how it works first and go from there.
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Similar to the picture above, but this gives you a different perspective on how the air and light will come out of the ceiling. Speaking of... the ceiling will be into three sections and will be 3mm Baltic Birch laminated onto 1/8" hardboard, which you see in the picture. This will allow me to remove it with relative ease if necessary.
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More to follow...
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Fri Apr 03, 2020 4:41 pm

Here are some quick shots of the cabin with the ceiling in place and the lights on. I still need to laminate the BB onto the hardboard, but this will certainly work for now. I think this will be plenty of light considering we were able to play cards during our maiden trip and we only had the 4 little 1" single LED lights about 2' off the floor. If we need more light, I'll add some recessed puck lights in the ceiling.

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I couldn't be happier with how the light cascades out of the ceiling without being able to see the LED strips no matter how hard you look.
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Cheers! :beer:

Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:07 pm

I've also been working on the duct work. Here are a few shots of the air conditioner, which is located on the floor in the v-nose/tongue box.

This AC unit pulls air in from the sides and pushes the hot exhaust air out the back. I have to get that hot air out of the v-nose so my inverter and other electronics don't overheat. You can see the hole in the floor towards the front - this is exit point for the hot air, but I had to make a duct to make it go there. I fully anticipate having to make that exit hole larger. Also, if you look on the right side of the picture, between the inverter and the bulkhead, you can kind of see where the conditioned air comes out of the AC unit. It's a little hard to see because it's all white, but I modified the unit by blocking off the front and opening up the top so I could direct the air up instead of out.
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Here's a mock-up of the exhaust duct. Basically just 1" foam cut to fit. I don't have a picture, but it's already glassed and smoothed out.
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This is the transition duct that will go at the top of the bulkhead and force the conditioned air into the cabin. The side that you're looking at will be the side that goes up against the bulkhead. This piece will also secure the vertical duct that comes directly off of the AC unit. It will all be held in place with two thumb screws and the exhaust duct just wiggles in and out.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby ssuuki19 » Sat May 30, 2020 8:49 pm

StrongFeather wrote:Here are some quick shots of the cabin with the ceiling in place and the lights on.


The perimeter valence lighting looks amazing. Thanks for the pic! I am a huge fan of perimeter lighting.

How does sealant get on my triceps and then my car seat?? more than once??
Aluminum is almost as fascinating as wood.
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:15 pm

This thing is finally coming close to being "done" - well, maybe we'll say "built" instead of done because they're never really done.

Anyhoo, here are some of the rear storage details. I decided to go with 6 milk crates - two racks of three. I'll likely add more shelving for specific things as we start to outfit the camper, e.g. I'll probably add a shelf between the two milk crate racks for a stove. I'm also going to build a box to keep all of our fire wood in one place when we pack (instead of buy) wood.
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Here's a closer look at the passenger-side rack along with the switch panel. There's a 120VAC outlet that we'll probably never use as well as a USB charger and a cigarette lighter socket. The three rocker switches control two small porch lights on the rear hatch, the two reverse light in the tail lights for work lighting, and a strip of LED lights that shine into the storage area.
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The LED strip lights run vertically along each side and horizontally along the top .
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:beer:
Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:24 pm

So I went 'round and 'round in my head on how to secure the milk crates in the racks. I thought I'd have to use some kind of strap or latch system, but I really didn't want to. Every method I came up with I felt would either get in the way, look ugly or have a tendency to break.

So, what I ended up doing turned out to be kind of ingenious and most importantly, it worked great.

I embedded 4 neodymium magnets in each shelf, and
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8 magnets in the bottom of each milk crate.
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The crates slide in and out easily, but the magnets keep them firmly in place.

:beer:
Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:35 pm

A couple quick pictures of the finished vent ducts.

Hot air is exhausted out the back (left) and down through the floor. Cool air goes up the front bulkhead and into the cabin ceiling.
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The vertical part of the cool air duct is held in place by the transition piece, which is held in place by two thumb screws, so the hole thing can be removed in seconds.
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The hot air duct simply lifts straight up.
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:beer:
Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:45 pm

And finally some pictures of the finished (almost) ceiling. Previous pictures of the ceiling were just a 1/8" hard board. I finally laminated some 3mm BB to the hardboard and did some fractal burning on them.

It's like a big fractal tattoo on the ceiling.
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Here's an up-close view.
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And this was after doing the fractal burning.
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:beer:
Steve
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby featherliteCT1 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:45 pm

Pretty cool work you are doing. I really like the crate and magnet set up. Have you had a chance to test the AC unit in elevated outdoor temperatures to find out if it can push the hot air out of the trailer and push the cool air into the cabin?
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Re: Carbon Fiber/Aluminum build for a family of 5

Postby StrongFeather » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:03 pm

featherliteCT1 wrote:Pretty cool work you are doing. I really like the crate and magnet set up. Have you had a chance to test the AC unit in elevated outdoor temperatures to find out if it can push the hot air out of the trailer and push the cool air into the cabin?


Thanks, featherlite!

I've only tested the AC in my driveway with the sun beating down on it on a hot day (~90°F). It definitely cooled the cabin down and didn't seem to have any problems expelling the hot air through the hole in the floor. I didn't take any temperature readings, so no quantifiable data. The plan is to NOT run it during the day while it's baking in the sun, and only turn it on as we're getting ready for bed. Hopefully the night air will be cool enough that we can open the windows and stay cool from the breeze - or be at a site with an electrical hookup.

Cheers!

Steve
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